Saturday, January 23, 2016

Overlord review

At first glance, Overlord looks just like another anime featuring the protagonist trapped in a video game world. But there's a catch; the protagonist is an evil looking skeleton mage whose goal is to conquer the world.

The story begins with Yggdrasil, a popular online game which is quietly shut down one day. However, when the protagonist Momonga decides to log out as the server shuts down, he found himself trapped in the world of Yggdrasil as his in game character, a powerful skeletal wizard. The world continues to change, with non-player characters (NPCs) beginning to feel emotion and becoming life-like. Momonga becomes cold and calculating, while having his emotions suppressed, as if he was not an actual human. Having no parents, friends, or place in society, this ordinary young man Momonga then strives to take over the new world the game has become. (Source: ANN, edited)

The story is simple enough to follow, with your usual stuck in a game setting. But unlike any other anime of the same type, the protagonist already given up on the real world and instead his goal is not to escape, but to take over the world instead. This is a rather fresh breath since you are given the chance to view the world in the villain eye. Being a dungeon master, he is accompanied with eccentric followers, or NPC, all with their own unique personalities. The way each of them are unquestionably loyal and awestruck with their great all-powerful leader is really a sight to behold. The story starts with Momonga and companies trying to get used to the new world, by gathering informations and testing out stuff like spells and items.  Then we get to see the him showing off his overwhelming power. At this point one may start to ponder if a story with a group of overpowered characters as the main focus would be a good idea. Thankfully, the middle part of the story toned a little bit to hide the fact the protagonist is really powerful by giving him a slight handicap; a job change if I would like to call it. And this is where the story diverge a little bit, to a more adventurer style plot line. It by no mean bad, in fact the closing of the adventurer arc was really satisfying, even if it feels a little dragged. And finally the last arc, which is a little rushed, and serve mostly as a plot device to end the anime with a huge fight.  The anime itself end with a cliffhanger, forcing the viewer to read the light novel or wait if there is a slight chance another season will come out. Overall, the story is very straightforward, with a simple enough plot to understand and smooth transition from one scene to another. It does feels rushed at time, and sometime one event just poping out one after another without much explanation.

The anime feature some of the best villain looking characters. Momonga, the protagonist and the Overlord of the Tomb of Nazarick is a menacing lich with huge figure and creepy aura. But he's not that bad of a guy to begin with, since he's basically still human on the inside (inside the bone? huh?), but occasionally his passive kicks in when he try to do thing out of character that makes some scene really hilarious. Because of that, his view is not totally a righteous one, and his action is based on what he believe the best for his group. All his subordinates are unique. We have Albedo; a sexy succubus that is literally written to be mad in love with him, Shalltear; gothic lolita vampire that is also in love with our lovable overlord and can have this high-class yet sinister aura in her, twin siblings that looks the least menacing among the group, Demiurge, Cocytus, Sebas, Pandora Actor; all elite yet loyal to Momonga and group of elite maids as well as many, many fellow Tomb of Nazarick inhabitant. The problem with so many cast is usually the lack of character development and progression and this is most evident with this anime. The only character that had be given any real, proper character development is Momonga himself since he is the main character of the story, while the other are mostly there to follow him and being used as a convenient plot device. For example, while I love to see more of Albedo perhaps, she's mostly there as a gag to show how obsessive she is with our skeletal ruler. It is a tad disappointing, but understandable since the whole point of the anime is to focus on the Overlord; Momonga or "Ainz Ooal Gown".

The art and animation is above average and really satisfying, not really surprising by the fact that it is done by Madhouse which presented consistent animation from time to time. Taking place in such a fantasy world, the colors are focused on the characters rather than the background. Characters are diverse and decorated distinctively that makes them look unique. This anime did not shy away from putting elements of gore and violence in it, which makes the setting a lot darker, perfect for the theme of this anime. The OP and ED are one of the best this season had to offer; both of them featuring heavy rock music that are just perfect for this anime. OP theme song is an intense beat to the ears while the ED theme always decorates itself with unorthodox imagery. The OST are perfect, with epic orchestral music played at the right moment and displaying a familiar fantasy feel in terms of content.

Overall I think Overlord is a very enjoyable anime despite the lack of depth and lacked progression, mostly because the cast of entertaining characters and a familiar yet fresh setting. It might not be the best anime out there, but it is a fun anime which I would definitely recommend it.

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